Volkswagen has a fairly long history of station wagons and all-wheel-drive, often combining the two together. But so far, mainstream success in the AWD wagon segment has eluded the company. Hoping to capture a slice of the niche that the Subaru Outback has so successfully cornered, the brand is reportedly preparing a rugged all-wheel-drive wagon model similar to the Outback based on the seventh-generation Golf for the U.S. market.
Internationally, Volkswagen offers a rugged-wagon in the form of the Passat Alltrack, sold in markets outside of the U.S. The company tested the waters for reception of an all-wheel-drive wagon model in North America by bringing the Passat Alltrack to the 2012 New York Auto Show.
In the 1980s, Volkswagen sold the Quantum Syncro wagon in the U.S. market, followed by the Passat Syncro wagon in the 1990s. 4Motion all-wheel-drive was offered on the B5 Passat wagon, but was not marketed as a separate model from the rest of the Passat line. A wagon version of the Passat was discontinued in the U.S. market following the debut of the North American-specific NMS Passat sedan.
Volkswagen has offered the Jetta Sportwagen in the U.S. since 2008, and has found a loyal but small following among wagon fans. But sales of the Sportwagen have not come close to the six figure annual sales of the Subaru Outback, which sold 117,553 models in 2012.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)